As the weather heats up and summer makes its presence known across the country, many people’s eating habits begin to change. Long-simmered stews, soups, and braises are out, as is anything that heats up our oven for longer than absolutely necessary.
It’s no wonder many people choose to celebrate the 4th of July with a barbecue. You can cook delicious food without heating up your home, and if you have a backyard, it’s the perfect excuse to host a gathering for family and friends. Small outdoor gatherings with members of different households staying at least six feet apart have been identified by the CDC as one of the lowest-risk social interactions we can have right now.
Today, we’ll bring you some ideas for making a delicious menu for the upcoming 4th of July holiday.
While burgers and hotdogs are always popular, these ideas will help create a more varied, spice-forward menu.
Spice-Marinated Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs take a marinade really well. A few hours before you fire up the grill, put some chicken thighs into a spiced marinade to soak up some flavor. Our favorite recipe includes delicious Indian spices like cumin, coriander, cayenne, and garam masala in a rich honey and tomato-based sauce. Marinate overnight, or for at least an hour before you start grilling.
Grilled Lamb Chops
Lamb is often served with mint sauce, but what if you could include fresh mint leaves in a pre-grill spice rub? This recipecombines chopped fresh spearmint leaves with classic Moroccan spices for a flavorful rub that really complements grilled chops.
Don’t let meat overshadow your barbecue! Whether you’re vegetarian or just craving something light, these veggie options are a great addition to any al fresco feast.
Instead of chopping individual pieces of cauliflower, cut the head into thick slices to make cauliflower ‘steaks’. With an Indian spice rub and some oil, you can bring out the rich, meaty flavor of this cruciferous veggie.
Colorful Veggie Kabobs
Get creative when it comes to kabobs! Set out bowls of cut veggies and let people make their own, or provide a few pre-made options.
Some great kabob-friendly veggies include:
- Small potatoes
Set the mood by offering a few different drink options, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. It’s always nice to have lots of beverages available, as the summer heat can make people dehydrate quickly.
Pitcher cocktails are a great way to provide drinks for a crowd. Consider making a large batch of something non-alcoholic like punch, lemonade, iced tea, or juice. If you want to serve alcohol, keep a few options that suit your cocktail, like vodka for iced tea and lemonade, or rum for juice and punch.
White Claw Cocktails
Everyone loves White Claw, the mildly alcoholic sparkling water that’s available in flavors like black cherry, grapefruit, and lemon. It’s even better as a base for a cool summer cocktail. Try using it in place of tonic water for a G+T, or with a shot of Pimm’s for a light summer sip. The citrus flavors of White Claw also taste great in palomas, margaritas, and mojitos.